Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Will a "Two Church Solution" be Traded for Invitations to Lambeth?

No official news regarding the meeting in New York, although Ruth Gledhill has offered us some additional information and some interesting speculations:

...The most likely outcome is a “two-church solution” for the United States, allowing conservatives and liberals to exist, separate but side-by-side, as Anglicans. It would have implications for the worldwide communion, because many other provinces, including England, have similar problems.

The plan this week is to draw up a pact giving the appearance of unity, enabling a final deal to be hammered out at the Lambeth Conference in 2008...

...Sources have told The Times that the aim is for Dr Williams to invite all 890 bishops and archbishops to the Lambeth Conference. That would include the gay Bishop Gene Robinson, whose consecration in 2003 triggered the crisis, and any other openly gay bishops consecrated since.

Although the Nigerian bishops are among those who have have pledged to boycott the conference if Bishop Robinson is present, sources hope that they might be persuaded to turn up if a settlement can be reached...
Surrender to the extremists for an invitation to Lambeth? Let's hope Ms. Gledhill's sources are mistaken. If this is what is agreed to, I don't think the membership of TEC will stand for it. It appears that I'm not alone in holding that opinion:

...The argument among the Episcopalians is expected to move beyond theology to matters of money and property. The wealthy US liberal lobby is expected to resist any compromise move by Bishop Griswold and Bishop Schori — especially for conservatives to retain any of the substantial capital and pensions assets of the Episcopal Church.

“If it all falls apart,” said the source, “you could even see something quite radical happening.” For example, insiders are talking of the liberal-dominated Episcopal Church leaving the Anglican Communion itself and seeking unity with a body such as the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht, which is liberal on the question of women and gays. Such a move would allow the Episcopalians to retain their Catholic identity...
I must not be an "insider," as this is the first I've heard of aligning with Utrecht. Ms. Gledhill expands on this idea on her weblog:

..."There is a big go-wrong factor here," my source told me, and it is not just the orthodox who might walk. Just as Rowan Williams is under pressure from liberals in his own church who believe he has sold out, some liberals in TEC are furious that Griswold intervened at GenCon06 in an attempt to keep TEC in the Communion and that he and Schori are taking part in this week's meeting at all. If neither side is prepared to compromise at all, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that TEC could itself decide it has had enough and seek communion with another body, such as the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht. This church is in communion with Canterbury, and is liberal on women and gays. I can imagine a scenario where, should the whole thing become a much looser federation, enabling the Methodists among others to come on board, the Old Catholics could end up part of the wider Communion in any case.

Maybe it would just then become The Communion, TC, with separate bodies such as the Episcopalians, the Anglicans, the Methodists, the Old Catholics, the Lutherans and numerous others all included. Then all the other continuing churches that left over women could come back on board, should they wish to. Rowan Williams or his successor, probably Dr Semtamu if Dr Williams decides to head back to academia after working a miracle at Lambeth, would then become a kind of Pope, with little of the power but with an awful lot of authority...
I have to wonder if Ms. Gledhill is having a bit of fun with us. It is difficult to believe that such options are being considered. I don't see any advantage, or any necessity, in joining the Old Catholic Church. Am I missing something here?

If the deal on the table in New York was a new North American province in exchange for invitations to Lambeth, I hope the members of the Episcopal Church tell our bishops, clearly and stridently, "No deal." Then, if Bishop Robinson is not invited to Lambeth, I think it would be appropriate for us to recommend to all of our bishops that they decline their invitations as well.


UPDATE: A statement has been issued regarding the meeting of bishops in New York:

...We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward. We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight. The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.

No comments:

Post a Comment